For some odd reason I was grocery shopping this morning—early, really early—at least for me! It was 8:00 AM, Sunday morning—that’s obscenely early to be up and functioning! I perused the aisles, grabbing chopped pecans, yams, onions, cranberries, and marshmallows. “You aren’t really going to get those marshmallows, are you?”asked one lady. ”Come on, get the generic brand. Who’s going to know?” another offered. “Someone might see your trash and inadvertently notice you didn’t use the Kraft marshmallows! Are you really ready for that shame?”
I quickly realized the Ladies had joined me at the grocery store. They pop up unpredictably and eagerly offer me advice. Sometimes they all speak at once, making the talking heads on The View seem polite. “Look, you guys! I know what I am doing! Leave me alone! I am perfectly capable of choosing which marshmallows to buy!”
“Remember when she bought those off-brand almonds?” the cranky I-told-you-so addressed the Ladies. “Can we say ‘stale’???” “Besides, who would consider buying almonds at CVS, for God’s sake?”
I continued shopping, doing my best to ignore the Ladies. Sometimes, when I hum, the Ladies quiet down. Either they find the melody soothing or have gone into hiding because I’ve never been accused of having a great singing voice! Things settled down for awhile—until I was wheeling my cart determinedly and stopped suddenly. What was I on my way to get? “Look around, sweetie, maybe you’ll remember when you see it” I can count on Auntie Em to always offer loving support. “She’s not going to remember! Let’s go. I’m bored!” whined the spoiled brat.
Reluctantly, I turned the cart around and headed to the checkout line. “This ought to be interesting!” the Know-it-All said with disdain. “Either she’ll find the longest line or the cash register will break!” “Pick that line over there! It’s got lots of candy and those celebrity magazines!” suggested the bored suburbanite. “I just love reading all those headlines about Lindsay, Britney, Angelina and Brad!” I fooled the ladies on this one! I was the first person in line and didn’t even look at the candy or magazines.
Feeling a sense of victory, I whipped out my debit card, correctly slid it through the card reader, entered my pin number, hit yes, hit yes again for cash back and politely took the $20 bill from the cashier. The Ladies had the last hurrah, “Hurry, take the money. Just stash it in your handbag.” “Don’t make the person behind you wait while you put the money in your purse!” “Did you see the look you got from the lady behind you? She thinks you’re awfully slow and awkward!” “Take your time; put the money away; zip the purse and calmly walk out,” offered Dr. Phyllis, “Show them you have a sense of self worth!”
I am now back at home and am exhausted by the constant chatter of the Ladies. I know them intimately; they are my fears and my history. Others may have given me these messages, but I am the one keeping them around. They don’t come to visit as often as they used to. Maybe, I’m finally starting to grow up and be comfortable in my own skin—ya think?